Puerto Rico
5th Grade Puerto Rico Inquiry
Should Puerto Rico Be a State?

Download the entire Inquiry Here

Staging the Compelling Question: Discuss the 2012 vote on Puerto Rico's statehood.
  • Source A: Charts showing the results from the 2012 vote on statehood, 2012.  In the 2012 Puerto Rican referendum on statehood, 1,864,186 voted out of 2,402,941 registered voters (78% turnout). The referendum asked two questions.
    • Created for the New York State K–12 Social Studies Toolkit by Binghamton University, 2015 based on data from the Comisión Estatal de Elecciones, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 2012
Supporting Question 1- How did Puerto Rico become a United States territory?
Map 2: Political evolution in Central America and the Caribbean in 1898 (after the Spanish-American War).
Created for the New York K–12 Social Studies Toolkit by Agate Publishing, Inc., 2015. Based on public domain map by Esemono. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Political_Evolution_of_Central_America_and_the_Caribbean_1898_na.png .

Supporting Question 2- What efforts has Puerto Rico made to obtain statehood or independence? 
  • Source A: Chart bank: Results of statehood referendum votes in Puerto Rico in 1967, 1993, 1998, and 2012
    • Chart 1: Referendum votes on independence and statehood in 1967, 1993, and 1998. Report by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status. December 2005. Public domain. Available at the website of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez: http://charma.uprm.edu/~angel/Puerto_Rico/reporte_status.pdf.
Chart 2: Referendum vote on independence and statehood in 2012.Data from the 2012 Referendum, General Elections 2012 and Plebiscite on Puerto Rico Political Status website. Public domain.

Supporting Question 3- What are the arguments in favor of Puerto Rico's statehood or independence?
  • Source A: Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, article against Puerto Rican statehood, “What’s the Matter with Puerto Rico?” (excerpt), Pacific Standard magazine, November 17, 2014   Reprinted with permission from the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy. http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/whats-matter-puerto-rico-congress-united-states-94238.
  • Source B: United States Council For Puerto Rico Statehood, position statement on statehood for Puerto Rico, “Statehood Issues” (excerpts), 2004.   

Supporting Question 4- What are the arguments against Puerto Rico's statehood or independence?